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John Carroll wrestlers win Mule Classic Tournament

BY RANDY McROBERTS, rmcroberts@theaegis.com

10:08 AM EST, December 10, 2013

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The John Carroll wrestling team had a good weekend in Pennsylvania. It wasn't nearly as good of a start to the season for some other Harford County wrestling teams, except for Patterson Mill.

John Carroll placed 12 wrestlers in the top 8 at the 16th annual Mule Classic Wrestling Tournament in Solanco, in Lancaster County, to win the event for the first time in seven tries.

Despite six John Carroll wrestlers competing in weight classes higher than usual (due to weight loss restrictions), the Patriots led the 15 all-Pennsylvania field from start to finish.

Winning titles for John Carroll were Austin Smith, 120-pounds; Chris Almony, 170; Christian Scott, 182; and Hunter Ritter, 195. CJ Skokowski reached the finals, but lost 10-5 to Solanco's and Pennsylvania's state runner-up, Connor Sheehan.

Other place winners for the Patriots who were fourth were Mike McCabe, 106, and Zach Dwyer, 126. Philip Venanzi, 152, and Andy Reininger, 220, each finished fifth, while Mark Pickett, 132, and Austin Ross, 160, each placed sixth. Brian Chalmers (145) wrapped up the place winners in eighth.

In the team standings, John Carroll amassed 207 points to defeat runner-up Solanco (193.5) by 13.5 points. The other top five schools in order of finish were, Central Bucks-East, Carlisle and Blue Mountain.

John Carroll is scheduled to host St Paul's today (Wednesday) at 3:30 p.m.

John Carroll visited Mount St. Joe Wednesday in the Patriots season opener. When the final bout was contested, the teams' were deadlocked at 33-33. Due to tiebreaker criteria "G" which stands for most matches where each team scored first, the host was declared the winner.

Making matters worse for John Carroll, a snafu in weight led to the Patriots having six wrestlers in wrong weight classes. "We could have overcome that issue, but we didn't," Patriot head coach Keith Watson said.

Mark Pickett weighed 131.8 pounds, but had to wrestle 138 because he couldn't wrestle 132 until Friday.

It was a similar story at 145 with Brian Chalmers weighing in at 138.4. At 152, Philip Venanzi weighed 145.0; at 160, Austin Ross was only 150.8 and at 170, Chris Almony was 160.4. Finally, what Watson calls the killer, at 285, Andy Reininger weighed 219.2 but couldn't wrestle 220 until the next day.

St. Joe had one wrestler affected by the weight certification program.

Despite the issue with weight, Venanzi won his 152 bout by first period pin. CJ Skokowski also won by first period pin at 113, while winners by decision were Mike McCabe, 103, (12-8); Austin Smith, 120, (3-2); and Zach Dwyer, 126, (7-3).

Almony won a forfeit at 170 and Hunter Ritter also won by forfeit at 195.

Eagles Duals

Aberdeen hosted its annual Golden Eagles Duals over the weekend with North Hagerstown claiming the top spot with a 7-0 mark. Marriotts Ridge (5-1) was the runner-up.

Bel Air, one of four local teams competing, was third. The Bobcats went 5-2 with losses coming against both top two teams. The Bobcats earned wins over Aberdeen, Annapolis, Overlea, High Point and Springbrook.

Fallston went 5-1 with wins over Perryville, Overlea, Annapolis, High Point and Aberdeen. The loss came against Springbrook.

Aberdeen managed a 2-4 record with wins over Annapolis and Overlea. Perryville was 1-6 with a win over Overlea.

Huskies blank Warriors

Patterson Mill opened its wrestling season in a big way Thursday, hosting and shutting out Havre de Grace, 74-0.

The Huskies won 11 contested matches, while three other wins came by way of forfeit.

Six of the wins came by pin. Recording the falls were Colin McDonald, 113-pounds; Josh Holbrock, 160; Matt Skiles, 170; Andrew Wilkinson, 182; Joe King, 195; and Eric Eckstein, 220.

Chase Tallon was a winner by disqualification at 132 and Jake Nikkila followed with a tech fall victory at 138.

Decision winners for the Huskies were Paul Difonso, 120; Lawrence Swartz, 145; and Juan Bustamante, 152. The forfeits were claimed by Mike Defazio, 106; Brent Iwanowski, 126; and Brian Whitby, 285.